Who really profits from Covid-19?

Restaurants have been told to stop the dining-in option, but it beggars belief when we hear that casinos are open for members and high-rollers.

Shankar R. Santhiram, Free Malaysia Today

It’s our second year of this absurdity with Covid-19.

I say absurdity while not taking this pandemic lightly. For most of us, the suffering is real.

The spike in the number of infections, the daily dose of information about the shortage of hospital beds, the armed forces being tasked to set up temporary hospitals, the country’s medical services being placed in “code blue”, the failing businesses, the loss of livelihoods and ultimately, the loss of life; are all terribly alarming.

But there’s still so much ludicrousness even during these awful times.

And it’s not from the people who don’t stay home or wear the prescribed face masks. It is so easy to blame them for these spikes. Look around you, please. Most Malaysians are doing as we are told.

Picking on ordinary, helpless people who are afraid for their lives, by saying that they are the cause of these spikes is simply preposterous.

Victimising the average Malaysian is akin to picking the lowest hanging fruits. We are easy pickings for the authorities and get harangued and harassed at every turn.

But when you get to grips with your fear, and start to open your eyes, you begin to see more.

You see celebrities and politicians not following the prescribed protocols.

Quarantine centres in shambolic and squalid conditions.

Heavy-handed “little-Napoleons” issuing ridiculous summonses for exorbitant amounts of money, like the purported fine to a restaurant for allowing their staff to eat their meals at the workplace.

Restaurants have been told to stop the dining-in option, but it beggars belief when we hear that casinos are open for members and high-rollers.

The powers that be, ask us to be confident and get the vaccine, while there are reports of widespread mismanagement of the whole process of disbursement.

And to top it off, people who have been vaccinated then go on to contract the virus, anyway.

It really is astounding that while all these shenanigans are going on, ordinary Malaysians are constantly told that we are the root cause of the problems, because we are not adhering to the procedures.

They say we are not staying at home, and because of us, doctors and frontliners are suffering by having to wear PPE suits and work to exhaustion.

Where is the confident and courageous leadership that is needed to bring Team Malaysia together?

Where is the full and unequivocal lockdown for everyone, so we can break the chain of infections?

Where is the clear definition of roles, and the standard operating procedures for everyone to follow, which more importantly gets enforced without fear, favour, or political patronage?

Where is the financial aid for people who are losing their jobs and businesses?

Forgive me for I can’t see these things clearly. So, when experts tell me that I, together with my fellow Malaysians are at fault, it just rings hollow.

All I see is fearmongering, and the average Malaysian copping the blame.

Who actually profits?

Big pharmaceutical companies who manufacture the vaccines, peripheral medical industries like glove, PPE, and mask suppliers, E-hailing companies (the owners, not our blessed riders), online communication giants, banks that post profits during the pandemic year, having resisted moratoriums for customers, and of course, certain sections of our government.

These are the big winners from the pandemic.

Who suffers?

Our parents, spouse, children, siblings, uncles and aunts, friends; you know, common folk, we are paying a high price, and bearing the brunt of this pandemic.

Deaths, severe illness, loss of livelihoods, businesses being swatted like flies; this is our reality.

The people who truly matter to us are being punished and squeezed beyond recognition.

Your favourite café or restaurant may soon be boarded up. Your Friday night comedy club is selling pizzas to stay afloat. Your hopes of seeing your kids off to university is hanging on the balance.

The money you have squirreled away for years is depleting at a rapid rate as you are made redundant.

The frontliners are being stretched. E-hailing riders, our favourite sons and daughters over the last year, are fatigued. Medical personnel are collapsing with exhaustion.

We, the people who make Malaysia, are the ones who are truly suffering.

What should we do?

Make informed choices. While we are in search of that illusive “herd-immunity” that the scientific community tells us about, don’t just be like sheeple. Be critical thinkers.

Think rationally, and understand the logical connection between ideas. Reason and don’t just accept. Actively read, learn and question, rather than just passively assimilate information.

And when you learn about something, work at practicing it, instead of standing on rooftops and screaming about it.

Isn’t it beginning to get a tad tedious to see your social media feeds flooded with doomsday naysayers, and vaccine propagandists?

Stop rumourmongering. Mass hysteria really doesn’t help, right now.

I know that most people pass on every little nugget of information they can lay their hands on, with the good intention of helping others. But perhaps now is the time to remind ourselves of that old adage – the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Stop labelling someone as “irresponsible” or “foolish” just because they have a different opinion from you, or if they are insecure about what they should do.

We must be kind to each other, and we have to work together, but hold the right people to account. This is the only way we are going to claw our way out of this massive pit we find ourselves in.